risingson

Debt Collection Lawsuit - Living Abroad - Help!

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(Forgive me if I haven't had enough time to search for all the right answers in the vast amount of resources this forum has to offer! I may have limited time or already be out of it! I am also seeking an attorney this week.)

I am living abroad out of the US and have been possibly sued by a bank or through a debt collection agency being assigned by a bank. I have a number of questions!

1. The file date says 1/3/2020. If I have 30 days to respond, does that mean I have until 2/2/2020 or is it the date that I have been served? Because that leads me to my next question...

2. Aside from publication, there is a high chance that I have not been served properly because I have been living and working abroad for many years. If that is the case, should I file a motion to vacate based on improper service on my own or should I hire an attorney to file it for me? Is it a simple form or template I can find and type / mail myself to the court?

3. If it turns out that I am being sued by a collection agency, (similar to the question above) should I request for the validity of the debt to the court on my own or hire an attorney to do it for me to due the existence of the court case?

Below is the current status of my case. I have a number of questions about the updates.

------------------------------
Status: Pending
4. Does this mean that the actual case has yet to be approved?

01/2021 at (Time) in Department (Letter) at (Address)
Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service and Failure to File Default Judgment Pursuant to (Number Code)
5. What does this mean in simple terms? Does this mean that the next step or hearing is in 1/2021?
 
(Date) Declaration Declaration of Non-Service; Filed by: (Bank Name) (Plaintiff)
 
(Date) Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service and Failure to File Default Judgment Pursuant to (Number Code) scheduled for 01/2021 at (Time) AM in (Address) at Department (Letter)
6. What does this mean in simple terms?
 
(Date) Case assigned to (Name) in Department (Letter) (Place)
(Date) Complaint; Filed by: (Bank Name) (Plaintiff); As to: (Name) (Defendant)
(Date) Civil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: (Bank Name) (Plaintiff); As to: (Name) (Defendant)
 
(Date) Summons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: (Bank Name) (Plaintiff); As to: (Name) (Defendant)
7. What does this mean? Does this mean that the plaintiff served me?
 
(Date) Order to Show Cause Hearing/Trial Date (Rules of Court, rule Number Code); Filed by: Clerk
(Date) Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk
(Date) The case is placed in special status of: Collections Case (Number Code)
------------------------------
 
Of course, I will be asking these questions and more to an attorney. But, I'd just like to get some feedback and answers while I am looking for a lawyer. Thank you so much for your help.

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1 hour ago, risingson said:

1. The file date says 1/3/2020. If I have 30 days to respond, does that mean I have until 2/2/2020 or is it the date that I have been served? Because that leads me to my next question...

You have 30 days from when you are served to answer.

1 hour ago, risingson said:

2. Aside from publication, there is a high chance that I have not been served properly because I have been living and working abroad for many years. If that is the case, should I file a motion to vacated based on improper service on my own or should I hire an attorney to file it for me? Is it a simply form or template I can find and type / mail myself to the court?

Watch the docket on line. If they show you have been served by any method THEN hire a lawyer to file a motion to dismiss for you.

1 hour ago, risingson said:

3. If it turns out that I am being sued by a collection agency, (similar to the question above) should I request for the validity of the debt to the court on my own or hire an attorney to do it for me?

Now that a suit has been filed it is WAY too late for validation.  DV does not apply to lawsuits.

1 hour ago, risingson said:
Status: Pending
4. Does this mean that the actual case has yet to be approved?

01/2021 at (Time) in Department (Letter) at (Address)
Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service and Failure to File Default Judgment Pursuant to (Number Code)
5. What does this mean in simple terms? Does this mean that the next step or hearing in is 1/2021?
 
(Date) Declaration Declaration of Non-Service; Filed by: (Bank Name) (Plaintiff)
 
(Date) Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service and Failure to File Default Judgment Pursuant to (Number Code) scheduled for 01/08/2021 at (Time) AM in (Address) at Department (Letter)
6. What does this mean in simple terms?
 
(Date) Case assigned to (Name) in Department (Letter) (Place)
(Date) Complaint; Filed by: (Bank Name) (Plaintiff); As to: (Name) (Defendant)
(Date) Civil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: (Bank Name) (Plaintiff); As to: (Name) (Defendant)

ALL of this is California Court automatic hearings that are set when a suit is filed due to the high volume of cases in the courts. This is supposed to prevent clogging of the courts with stagnant cases.

1 hour ago, risingson said:
(Date) Summons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: (Bank Name) (Plaintiff); As to: (Name) (Defendant)
7. Does this mean that the plaintiff served me?

No.  It means the court has issued a summons.  The next step would be serving it.

 

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Thank you so much for your reply.

I'd like to ask a couple further questions.

1. Are the dockets online updated in a timely manner or is there a chance I could be served and I won't see the update until many days later to make it too late to respond?

2. I would still like to know what this date and update refers to.

01/2021 at (Time) in Department (Letter) at (Address)
Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service and Failure to File Default Judgment Pursuant to (Number Code)
 
Does it mean that the plaintiff has until 01/2021 to show proof of service or a judgement won't be made until 01/2021? My apologies for the lack of knowledge. This is my first time having a summons so I am completely lost with the terminology.
 
3. If being served and living abroad, do you absolutely recommend an attorney to handle this for me or should I respond with letters of my own?
 
Thank you again for your responses.

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1. The docket is usually updated in a timely manner and since they cannot serve you in California, they will probably either find a way to serve you without actually serving you by filing a proof of service or they will request alternate service. Either way, you will have plenty of notice.

2. This was set up to keep stale cases from staying on the docket. What this means is that the plaintiff is to show the court why they have not served the defendant or why they have not requested a summary judgement if service was completed and no answer was filed by January 2021 (1 year from now). If the plaintiff does not show good cause, the case can be dismissed without prejudice for want of prosecution.

3. You would have to file an answer and possible motions with the court. You might want to get an attorney since you are abroad and an attorney might be able to help you.

This said, realize that even if they get a judgement, if you have no assets in the USA, they will not be able to collect anything. Most other countries do not honor USA judgements without a case in court in their country and the rules are so much different that it is hard for a US based country to get a judgement in a foreign country. If you have no intentions of moving back to the USA for a long time, if ever, and especially if you have no intentions of moving back to the State of California, it might be fine to allow them to get the judgement. Since every situation is unique, it is up to you to decide the path to take.

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